The Philosophy, Art, and Social Influence of games
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Forlorn Drifter
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Re: Why are there so many social outcasts in geek culture?

by Forlorn Drifter Wed Feb 24, 2016 1:37 pm

emwearz wrote:Seriously though, any activity that can be undertaken by yourself if perfect for "social outcasts". Reading, skating, gaming, etc, can all be undertaken by yourself, so if you are a social outcast, obviously you are going to gravitate towards a hobby that does not require you to be social.

I think this is the brunt of it. It doesn't require you to be social, can fill a lot of time, and depending on the specific hobby, gives you a goal to reach. Just a way to pass time by yourself.

I'd also argue that social outcasts are, well, outcasts, so they likely are drawn to or look for something that can be done by themselves. Its a safe environment where they can be themselves without any issues, and in the case of gaming, can actually become the things they wish they were.
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Re: Why are there so many social outcasts in geek culture?

by Key-Glyph Thu Feb 25, 2016 3:32 am

I also think there's a strong reading component to this.

What I mean is, I express myself much better in writing than verbally, and I love reading as an activity (not just as a hobby). When the internet became a thing it was amazing for me, because here was a vehicle for exchanging information that was neither book nor library, but required reading and writing as its primary interface. Not only was I more comfortable socializing with strangers through typed words, but anybody I wanted to communicate with over the internet was forced to respond to me essentially like a pen-pal. It was fantastic.

Obviously people use the internet who are not bookworms or compulsive readers, but if you don't like to read and write, I am going to assume you are going to spend less time on the internet because the interface is not as natural or pleasant for you. I suppose this is less true these days than it used to be, but there still might be a kernel of truth to it.

Video games used to fit into this a lot too, because manuals used to be such wordy, thorough productions, and/or the game itself required reading. And books, well, books themselves have always been the classic "social outcast geek" object, I think.

I think what I'm getting at is that activities that require reading are more likely to get branded with these stigmas, whether they're warranted or not.

Definitely pick this apart, though. I'm leaving a lot of things out. For instance, are arcades and arcade games considered nerdy in the same way? Those don't require any reading at all. (I personally always thought arcades were edgy, but I had a very specific vantage point on that.) And what about earlier, even simpler games in general? Was Combat! on the Atari considered geeky in the same way we're talking about here, or was it seen more as childish? And how do the childish/outcasty stereotypes influence each other and/or overlap?
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Glitch42
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Re: Why are there so many social outcasts in geek culture?

by Glitch42 Thu Feb 25, 2016 9:59 am

One reason why people who are "on the spectrum" might be attracted to retro gaming could stem from their dislike of change. In general (most but probably not all) dislike it when things change in their life and since games as a whole do not really change much; there are sequels but generally they follow the same basic lines. In retro gaming this is doubly so because a "dead" console will likely never have any changes made to it.
I personally hate change too and I can understand this mentality.

What do you think?
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Re: Why are there so many social outcasts in geek culture?

by Glitch42 Thu Feb 25, 2016 10:05 am

Key-Glyph, I'm a compulsive reader; I can't sit in the passengers seat of a car without reading EVERY sign...

I love forums because I can check what I have typed for mistakes or things that might be misinterpreted (unlike in real life).

I ALWAYS read the manual of a new game (if it came with one) and I HATE when a game comes with a manual with no content. I also hate it when they say "go online to read the rest of the manual"! I mean I just bought this thing, give me the whole bloody manual!
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Re: Why are there so many social outcasts in geek culture?

by Key-Glyph Thu Feb 25, 2016 4:51 pm

Glitch42 wrote:Key-Glyph, I'm a compulsive reader; I can't sit in the passengers seat of a car without reading EVERY sign...
I remember once I was standing around in the customer service area of a store, waiting for my husband to come back from somewhere, and I was reading all the Employee of the Month signs and other randomness the management had posted on the wall. Maybe the instructions next to a defibrillator or something. When he got back and I realized I'd passed a few solid minutes doing this, I said to him, "What do people DO who don't read everything they see?!"

I didn't mean it exactly that way, just mostly that I couldn't imagine what I would be doing otherwise.

Glitch42 wrote:One reason why people who are "on the spectrum" might be attracted to retro gaming could stem from their dislike of change.
I watched a documentary on Bronies once that made a connection to the spectrum. The hypothesis was that having a cast of highly individual characters with their own unique color schemes, symbols, and predicable behaviors was a relief for folks who have a harder time decoding the actions, emotions, and motivations of complicated everyday people. (If I remember right, this was in fact backed up by the comments of a Brony with autism.) I can see that extending into video games, what with established player characters, unique special moves, and so on.
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TSTR
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Re: Why are there so many social outcasts in geek culture?

by TSTR Thu Feb 25, 2016 4:53 pm

i seem to remember a discussion of bronies and autism that got out of hand on here at some point...don't know where it is though
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Re: Why are there so many social outcasts in geek culture?

by Anayo Thu Feb 25, 2016 8:11 pm

While I've never identified as any gender other than the one I was born as (male) I have sensed a certain weird pressure to be manly since childhood - an ideal of machismo, if you will, something I'm not even sure lines up with reality. There's an unspoken cultural expectation that men are supposed to be athletes who throw balls really far and roll up their sleeves to work on fast cars and shoot animals whose disembodied heads are ceremoniously mounted over the fireplace. As a kid my interests were always way more cerebral than that, then later as a teenager other guys would try to include me in their chest thumping and I had to improvise something like I was caught in a stage play where I never learned the script. I suspect the growth of geek culture results from a spreading dissatisfaction with this status quo and portends some incoming cultural changes that will challenge these long-held assumptions.
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Re: Why are there so many social outcasts in geek culture?

by benderx Thu Feb 25, 2016 8:23 pm

One thing that bothered me once. In the early 2000s, I saw a chubby kid at Barnes & book store. This kid (geek anime) was hogging the anime shelf reading the books for hours like if it was living room, age 13-16. It was really bugging me cause I wanted to check that shelf area. I would like to go back in time, tell him to knock it off. That kid had bad book habits. He had a bunch of the books on the floor.

I never got to play initial D arcade cause so many were hogging the machine. Compared to the sf4 release had better/friendly environment.
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Glitch42
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Re: Why are there so many social outcasts in geek culture?

by Glitch42 Fri Feb 26, 2016 5:16 am

Key-Glyph; I think you could be on to something there. I imagine that being able to come back and "visit" with various characters who don't change and who always follow the same set of patterns would be a relief for those who have difficulty with understanding the inner workings of the average human.

Anayo, everyone is a balance of feminie and masculine traits; even those who identify as solely male or female. Although I'm not anything other than female truthfully I've always just been who I am.

benderx, yeh; show some respect for things that aren't yours (and books!)
I never played in Arcades mainly for financial reasons; my local arcades always kept asking for dollars for every five minutes of play which did not encourage me enough to keep at something I could buy for ten bucks and then play at home for as long as I wanted.
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Re: Why are there so many social outcasts in geek culture?

by yaktaur Fri Feb 26, 2016 8:37 am

Key-Glyph wrote:I watched a documentary on Bronies once that made a connection to the spectrum. The hypothesis was that having a cast of highly individual characters with their own unique color schemes, symbols, and predicable behaviors was a relief for folks who have a harder time decoding the actions, emotions, and motivations of complicated everyday people. (If I remember right, this was in fact backed up by the comments of a Brony with autism.) I can see that extending into video games, what with established player characters, unique special moves, and so on.


Yeah, watching the Brony documentary sort of chilled me out about grown people going nuts about My Little Pony. Like I still don't find the cartoon interesting, but if it serves as a venue for helping awkward people make friends it's just a good thing for the universe.
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